Tag Archives: virginia poetry festival

Readings: Bridgewater International Poetry Festival Wrap-up & Alumni Page

We saw it all in those four days at Bridgewater. Poetry in other languages. Poetry in English that appeared to be in another language. Poetry in another language that appeared to be in English. Spoken word performances. Amazing stage presence and outlandish stage props. Cellos and calls from Paris. Wildlife and the deep internal horizon. Minds coming together and all the space in between.

By Sunday afternoon, invigorated and exhausted (and I did not even attend the evening workshops and readings because of family stuff back down the road in Staunton, so I’m not sure how some of you survived it!) I stumbled back to my house on the hill, unburdened with several hundred pages of new reading material, a couple of CDs, business cards, scribbled emails and even a draft or two for new poems, and a feeling that the world was now wheeling around me in a slightly different rhythm, with a palette of new colors I could suddenly see as if in a new landscape not quite winter and not fully weather either.

So still dizzy with the event, I’d like to bottle a bit of that magic and cast it forward. I’ve changed the title of the Bridgewater page on the top menu of this site to the Bridgewater Fest Alumni page, and I hope some of the poets I have met in the last week will use that page to continue to announce new publication of their work, be it in print or online journal, limited edition letterpress work, or big ol’ book publication events. Maybe some of us will see each other again in a few years at the next Festival, but in the meantime let’s visit and share the news with each other, and with the wonderful community of poets and readers who regularly visit this humble and grateful site.

Bridgewater International Poetry Festival: Day One

Well, Day One is in the books and even at half a day it was a whirlwind of readings and meeting lots of fine people dedicated to the craft of writing and the art of poetry.  Festival Mastermind Stan Galloway, a professor of English at Bridgewater, has convened an eclectic group of poets here to this cozy college, and a roving gang of 18 student volunteers has helped support the festivities with tech help, directions, pizza and, of course, coffee.

Once the festival really got going, you are faced with two different reading locations, each hosting two poets an hour. I was paired with Jim Gaines, which was a good match as we were both working on translations as well as on our own work. Some other interesting or odd tidbits from Day One:

  • The first two poets, Stephen Corey and Pamela Uschuk, both read poems which included peonies in them. Strangely enough, one of the poems I read, directly after their reading, also included peonies. Wha?
  • Sirwan Kajjo, a Kurdish poet living in the DC area, read three poems in English and (on request) another in his native tongue (English being his third language!).
  • Matthew Hamilton has had so many lives — soldier, peace corps volunteer, benedictine monk, and librarian — that I had the surreal impression I was meeting someone who had just walked out of a Mark Helprin novel, who happens to be a darn good poet as well.
  • I missed as many good poets as I got a chance to see, but this is the trade-off of a festival like this. it’s invigorating and exhausting at the same time.

Emily Hancock of St Brigid’s Press, along with several other supporting literary establishments including the Georgia Review, whose editor Stephen Corey can be counted among the poets presenting their work, were present and selling their books. Although I forgot to mention this in my own reading today, three of my works are available at the St Brigid table — the broadside of the prose poem Drop Everything, a handsome broadside with moon-shaped matting of my translation of Li Ho’s Sky Dream, and the omnipresent haiku coaster sets.

I survived my own reading early in the afternoon with the help of a supportive audience. Twenty minutes can seem like an eternity or like the snap of a finger when you’re reading your work. If you’d like the silent virtual tour of what I read, you can follow the links below. On to Day Two!

Poem for the Back Cover of a Book

Self Portrait at Forty Nine

Fire Followers

Nobscusset Burial Ground, Dennis MA

On Translating a Poem from the Chinese

Two poems about the moon, one mentioning the moon six times and one not mentioning the moon at all

Mei Yao-ch’en and I Lament Missing the Lunar Eclipse…

Mei Yao-ch’en and I, Walking Downtown for Pizza on a May Afternoon…

…Mei Yao-ch’en and I Await Fourth of July Fireworks…


Readings: Bridgewater Fest Poet Aimee Suzara

Over the next week I’ll be posting information on the poets who will be reading from their work at the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival, Jan 15th-18th. 

Aimee Suzara will be reading her poetry on  Saturday, January 17th, at 2:30pm, and also leading a writer’s workshop, “In this Skin: Writing the Body” on Friday, January 16th, at 7:30pm.


Aimee Suzara is a Filipino-American poet, playwright, and performer. Her mission is to create, and help others create, poetic and theatrical work about race, gender, and the body to provoke dialogue and social change. Her poetry appears in her debut book, SOUVENIR (WordTech Editions 2014) and collections including Phat’itude and Kartika Review. Her multidisciplinary theater work, A HISTORY OF THE BODY, received several grants and commissions including ones from the National Endowment for the Arts and East Bay Community Foundation. A YBCAway (Yerba Buena Center for the Arts) and Spirited Woman Fellowship (AROHO Foundation) awardee, her work has premiered at the Thick House, CounterPULSE, Berkeley Repertory Theater, and been selected for the Utah Arts Festival, One Minute Play Festival, United States of Asian America, APAture, and others. As a performing poet and educator, she has graced stages and classrooms nationally, and she has collaborated with many artists, including Deep Waters Dance Theater. She was a two-time Hedgebrook Resident, and an alumna of VONA (Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation). Of SOUVENIR, Luis Rodriguez said, “Aimee Suzara is a deep chronicler of our hopes, dreams, pains, and future…we need these poems more than ever.” http://www.aimeesuzara.net

From SOUVENIR (WordTech Editions 2014)


At the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair

Oddities. Body
parts wrapped to be sold
as souvenirs.
Cold fingers
peel mummy layers
undoing the stitch.

It is invasive,
a sort of jigsaw-
suture the way
Navajos and Igorottes,
Rajasthanis pose
with elephants
at the artificial
Pueblo Cave Dwelling.
You note the backdrop
of painted sand pillars;
that Disneyland
cirrus cloud sky.

Wool jackets rub
loin cloths. Feathers
tickle Victorian necklines.

Hands sew together
what does not belong.
One day, it will heal
into something unrecognizable
with the parts of a person:
a teratoma
with teeth, hair and nails.

Come upon these
measured feet,
this list of names
without warning.
Come from thousands of miles
to witness the exhibit
of the exhibit. Come
to participate in
something, for
your own story does not
allow you to participate.

The candidness of naked
eyes, bare chests devoid
of goosebumps. The smoothness
of distance. The shadows
of the uncaptured. Something
tells you to stop looking,
but you are spun: sutured
to your subject.

Readings: Bridgewater Fest Poet A. Logan Hill

Over the next week I’ll be posting information on the poets who will be reading from their work at the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival, Jan 15th-18th. 

A. Logan Hill will be reading his poetry on  Friday, January 16th, at 11:00am.


Hey ya’ll, super stoked to meet up with everyone & exchange languages. Here’s some stuff about & of me:

A. Logan Hill grew up just north of Harrisonburg, Virginia in an old house by a small town off the highway. As a Poetry candidate in the MFA Program for Poets & Writers, he is currently working on a novel, a new chapbook of “appropriations from texts on NOTHING,” a collection of “prosaic meanderings” with the working title “Reward,” new poems, a children’s book, journals, and a collection of essays. In addition, Logan has also begun preliminary research on “the art of the list” and his interests in the integrity of mobiles. He currently teaches College Writing in the University’s Writing Program and is an Associate Editor at Route 9 Literary Magazine.

Needless to say “logan’s poems are more like blooms.” — H I L L

l o g a n H I L L “ hates ” genre.
He writes lists, notes, batches, drafts, plumbs, poems, stories, lyrics, essays, journals, writing, fiction, creative non-fiction. letters, essays, journals, poems, genre/form, collections, novels, chapbooks, speeches, strands, grants, proposals, lectures, lessons, drafts, labels, symbols, diagrams, lists, talks, responses, reviews, poems, presentations, stories, lists & other illiterate drafts / songs.

x Poetry is an act.

x Fiction is a process.

x Writing is the universal human act of a reciprocation between / personal experience and

x Everything is / the act of poetry.

* * *

DAY 4r

little spiders
in the
cob webs
of the
hanging there
in the bodies
of brownish
orbs —
in between
greenish hemisphere
of the
porched in
sadness can
not achieve
complete loneliness —
like a rotting
mattress —
the beautiful paired
with the mundane —
the everyday
& the useless—
the beauty
& the grotesque
of the beautiful—
some things will never end up in the wildflowers.

Readings: Bridgewater Fest Poet Patsy Asuncion

Over the next week I’ll be posting information on the poets who will be reading from their work at the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival, Jan 15th-18th. 

Patsy Asuncion will be reading her poetry on  Friday, January 16th, at 10:00am.


Public education, her ticket from poverty, instilled passion for words in all its creative forms. Professional writing morphed into poetry and short stories, featured in Prevention Magazine and numerous anthologies (most recently in Chatter House Press’ Reckless Writing, SUNY’s Healing Muse, L.A. Loyola’s The Truth About the Fact, National Federation of Poetry Society’s Encore) as well as online journals, UK’s Female First and Laughing Fire Press. Her poetry collection, Cut on the Bias, will be published by Laughing Fire Press in early 2015.

Here’s a new poem about growing up in Chicago’s inner city:


She was stolen shiny new outside
a tenement for a joy ride then abandoned
in a back alley No anti-theft devices
in those days just next of kin to fender
troublemakers When they found her
they thought she was lucky just
a busted headlight bloody dents
and pigeon-toed tires probably
the reason thieves dumped her

Once healed she proved a good car
who kept good traction whenever
she drove her stepmother home
from the neighborhood tap Mechanics
saw her potential caught her interest
with books Interior lights a tough
engine ensured high performance
in school despite being left
alone a lot on the street

Tomboy antics in the alleys scarred
all four tires but she put up a poker-face
Two crashes shorting her electrical
started migraines every time she used
her turn signals Surgery on ball joints
and quality oil seemed to quiet cranky
squeaks when she rolled She paid
attention keeping her trim in top shape
to slow depreciation unlike some friends

Maintenance doesn’t stop life’s odometer
Rust spots on her once flawless finish
increased each winter Young cracks
in her underbody began puckering her
mainframe Cheap gas had been no
problem but then started upsetting her gut
Chronic allergies insisted more air filter
changes Not surprised each time she
was traded She didn’t choose her

Sold now as vintage she is adept
a classic from the day the only one
to make it out of the old neighborhood
While memory settings have lost old
details she recalls important choices
running even in bad weather starting
while missing parts finding her way
regardless of confusing road signs
optimizing her standard components

Readings: Bridgewater Fest Poet KC Bosch

Over the next week I’ll be posting information on the poets who will be reading from their work at the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival, Jan 15th-18th. 

KC Bosh will be reading his poetry on  Thursday, January 15th, at 2:30pm.


KC Bosch is a photographer and woodworker who lives and writes in Rappahannock County, Virginia. His poetry can be found at literary journals such as Camel Saloon, Poetry Breakfast, Dead Mule, and Vox Poetica. His work was twice nominated for Best of the Net.

Stealing Days

when we arrive the calm dark is
rudely broken by generator and lamps
a million details to tend to

set the plates, fasten the sills
take the measure
run adhesive and sheet the deck
build the walls and stand in place

bring in the rafters
tip them up and nail them down
an ancient story of feet and inches

thirty-eight and seven-sixteenths skinny
short to short, three times
cripples and dead-men and bents
valleys and peaks and studs

stopping for lunch almost
while plotting …
sandwich in one hand
plans in the other

all afternoon more of the same
but different …

ok shut it down, tie it down,
pack it up

out to the truck
racing to Manny’s
pork rinds and beer
down 997 toward home

hat stuck to my head
sweat stain tie-dyed shirt
wearing enough sawdust and dirt
to … be … arrested … for … theft.

Readings: Bridgewater Fest Poet R.G. Evans

Over the next week I’ll be posting information on the poets who will be reading from their work at the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival, Jan 15th-18th. 

R.G. Evans will be reading his poetry on  Sunday, January 18th, at 10:00am.


Excited to be a part of the 2015 Bridgewater International Poetry Festival!

Visit my website to see my bio and links to some online poems, interviews and videos:http://www.rgevanswriter.com.

Here’s a poem from my book Overtipping the Ferryman:


Any night I like, I can rise instead of the moon
that has forgotten us, not a thought of our sad lot,
and roam the darkened oblongs of the dunes.

Once you said the moon was some pale god
who turned away his face to cause the tides,
and once you said that, I of course believed

that you were mad. Now the ghost crab guides
me to the edge where land is not land, sea not sea,
and all the sky above is one dark dream.

This is the month with no full moon. You
were its prophet, and I am standing on the seam
between belief and what I know is true.

I gave you a diamond. It should have been a pearl.
It should have been a stone to hang above the world.

Readings: Bridgewater Fest Poet Pia Taavila-Borsheim

Over the next week I’ll be posting information on the poets who will be reading from their work at the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival, Jan 15th-18th. 

Pia Taavila-Borsheim will be reading her poetry on  Saturday, January 17th, at 10:00am.


Thanks for hosting this, Jeff. Can’t wait to meet / see everyone.

Check out my web page for some poems, my resume (with my publishing history) as well as a listing of my forthcoming readings and book signings. Thanks!


Readings: Bridgewater Fest Poet Stan Galloway

Over the next week I’ll be posting information on the poets who will be reading from their work at the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival, Jan 15th-18th. 

Stan Galloway will be reading his poetry on  Thursday, January 15th, at 1:30pm.


Stan Galloway hosts the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival in alternate years. It is a global event in a small town atmosphere. He also writes poetry himself (which fuels his desire to meet all these outstanding poets). Here is an early poem which can be found in Scratching Against the Fabric, an anthology of poems from the last poetry festival, and scheduled for release next week.


Failed Romance

The little boy offers his best fire truck
and invites her to the box
while she sees the castles that he
has not built and the prince who
has not ridden to the rescue.
He says he likes the way she shows the
ribbon in her hair, meaning he likes
the way she shows the ribbon in her hair,
while she hears the one-tenth
surface to a nine-tenths depth he
won’t reveal.
He reaches out to tie the shoe
string that falls loose and she
begins to list the hundred other
broken things he’s failed to see, thinking
love and entropy are opposites.
He drives his cars around her,
happy that she chose to squat with him
for a time, and she wonders
why he needs her there while
he does his own thing oblivious.
Then she begins to talk and talk and he
turns his ear to her and finally says,
again, he likes the ribbon and
she turns away and leaves the box
to the shallow boy
with the one-track mind.

Readings: Bridgewater Fest Poet Lesley Wheeler

Over the next week I’ll be posting information on the poets who will be reading from their work at the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival, Jan 15th-18th. 

Lesley Wheeler will be reading her poetry on  Friday, January 16th, at 3:30pm.


Lesley Wheeler is a poet and professor born in New York, raised in New Jersey, and residing in Virginia since 1994. Her books include the poetry collections The Receptionist and Other Tales, Heterotopia (winner of the Barrow Street Press Poetry Prize), and Heathen as well as two scholarly studies and the co-edited anthology Letters to the World: Poems from the Wom-po Listserv. Her next poetry collection, Radioland, is forthcoming in September. Now the Henry S. Fox Professor of English at Washington and Lee University, Wheeler has held fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation (New Zealand), the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Virginia Commission for the Arts. In 2011 she received an Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia. Recent poems and essays have appeared in Poetry, The Gettysburg Review, and the Tahoma Literary Review. Find more information and her poetry blog at http://lesleywheeler.org/.


Côte Sauvage

Although the borderland is stony
and slicked by vivid seaweed,
the old man walks again without a cane—
his silhouette disrupts the glare.
No use shouting. Parents and children
never hear each other. Or
they pick up the faintest
impatient huff. Blackout
yields to voice as randomly
as suns broadcast their flares.

This terrain’s all surf and precipice.
Mirror pools bristle with mussels.
Generations break into foam around
boulders. Ahead, an absolute Atlantic.

But a limestone cliff at our backs
reflects the roar, as if we stand
within a shell whose whorls affirm
each listener’s inner ocean. Touch
the wall and feel a bass-line throb.

And there’s my son, leaning into
this green noise. Locked mollusk.
My daughter’s magnetic waves assail me.
Gods and fathers rarely signal,
but rock vibrates
sympathetically. What else
could it say? Echo
a kind of love, of

from Turbine: http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/iiml/turbine/Turbi14/poetry/t1-g1-g1-t17-g1-t1-body-d1.html